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hi ... i've been on my heckler since i bought it (around) 2007. it has been the perfect bike, until i learned how outdated it now is. i ride technical and rocky single track, where the ups/downs are just a few minutes at a time (i'm not pedaling all the way up, and bombing down). i use all my suspension on the heckler (at least if the zip tie is on the fork/shock is a good indication), and have liked that the heckler is pretty stiff.

there's so much new stuff out there, i'm a little overwhelmed. i want to stay under $2500 (willing to buy used). the specialized enduro has a great clearance sale right now, but i'm guessing that bike is overkill. otherwise, i'm thinking a stumpjumper, or a santacruz hightower.

am i on the right track? anything else to consider? can i go down in travel spec given that i'm going 29 in wheels?
 

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since 4/10/2009
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bikes now are generally a good bit more capable than your old Heckler. How much travel does that bike have?

You could probably get away with a little less travel on any bike and still wind up with something more capable than what you have. Forks/shocks are better now than they used to be. Rear suspension designs are more refined.

Chances are, new bikes are going to be quite a bit different from what you're used to. You'll have to adapt/adjust your riding style and possibly learn some new techniques. Take your time shopping and explore your options.
 

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since 4/10/2009
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hi harold. thanks for the response. i think my heckler has 150mm of travel (front and rear).
there's a ton of stuff in this general category (130-160ish mm travel) that'll be super capable. The longer travel bikes will pedal better than what you have now most likely. The shorter travel bikes will probably descend at least as well as what you have now.

You'll be best served by attending some demo events where you get to ride some of these newfangled bikes on some trails at least similar to what you ride now.

I'm having a rad time on a 140mm travel steel hardtail right now on fairly technical trails. FS is definitely still better on fast chatter, but for discrete drops that fall within my comfort zone, this thing is just as good.
 

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Looking up the Specialized Enduro in your price range comes up with 160mm of travel. Is that the one you're considering? I'd guess it's more than you need.

Somewhere around 120mm of rear travel in an alloy frame is probably close to the sweet spot, with a 1x12 drivetrain and a dropper post. Given your description, I think you could probably get by with 1x11, just realize that a 29" wheel Vs. a 26" wheel will have different effective "gearing".
 

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don't buy a new bike without demo'ing many. In your price point, I like the major brands. For the money (sub 3k), the giant trance 2 (in both 27.5 and 29 format) is about the best bang for the buck.

I love the hightower, but it will be hard to find sub 3k. Fwiw, I sold mine used in that budget window, but new will be difficult.
 

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Looking up the Specialized Enduro in your price range comes up with 160mm of travel. Is that the one you're considering? I'd guess it's more than you need.

Somewhere around 120mm of rear travel in an alloy frame is probably close to the sweet spot, with a 1x12 drivetrain and a dropper post. Given your description, I think you could probably get by with 1x11, just realize that a 29" wheel Vs. a 26" wheel will have different effective "gearing".
I went this route just a couple weeks back^^ in a Trance 29-2. Aluminum frame, 1x12 NX, 130 front and 115 back. (The bike rides closer to a 130 rear and I'm at 225 pounds). Retail is $3100, but I got it for less than the OP's target price.

Another strong contender that has a bit more travel is the YT Jeffsy with 140 front and back. The Aluminum base model is $2399. Hard to beat, but you usually have to wait a bit for them to ship.

I've put some decent trail miles on the Trance 29 already and have zero buyers remorse. It'll take decent sized drops and still power back up with no need to flip the shock out of full open. Pretty much the do-it-all rig I've been waiting on for years.
 

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I spent 9 years on a 2006 heckler and loved every minute of it. My next bike was a Santa Cruz Bantam which was nothing more than a shorter travel Heckler with slightly slacker geo and 27.5 wheels. I loved that for the last 3 years. I don't have any suggestions for you as far as a bike goes - other than echoing others in saying TEST RIDE, TEST RIDE, TEST RIDE!!!!!!
 
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